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Broad: Dharmasena said Smith run-out ‘would have been given’ with zing bails

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Stuart Broad said he had been told by umpire Kumar Dharmasena that if zing bails had been in use for the Ashes Steven Smith would have been given out on the second day at The Oval, but he was comfortable with the borderline decision having gone Smith’s way.

What could be a vital moment in the Test – and crucial to whether the series ends 2-2 – occurred in the 78th over when Smith, on 42, took on the arm of substitute George Ealham, the son of former England allrounder Mark, who sprinted in from deep midwicket and produced a rocket-like throw which was collected by Jonny Bairstow.

Initially, it appeared that Smith was short of his ground – and with Ricky Ponting on Sky Sports commentary mentions of Gary Pratt soon followed – but on subsequent replays umpire Nitin Menon ruled that the bail was not completely dislodged from both grooves until Smith, who had pulled out a full-length dive, was in his crease. There was also debate about whether Bairstow had dislodged the stumps fractionally before taking the ball.

“I honestly don’t know the rules,” Broad said. “I think there was enough grey area to give that not out. It looked like benefit of the doubt sort of stuff, first angle I saw I thought out, and then the side angle it looked like the bails probably dislodged.

“Kumar said to me if it was zing bails it would been given out, I don’t really understand the reasoning why.”

Under the Laws, the bail has to be completely removed. Law 29.1 states: “The wicket is broken when at least one bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or one or more stumps is removed from the ground.”

Tom Smith’s Cricket Umpiring and Scoring, MCC’s Official Interpretation of the Laws of Cricket, adds: “For the purposes of dismissal – a bail has been removed at the moment that both ends of it leave their grooves.”

Smith had started to walk off when he first saw the replay on the big screen. “I saw the initial replay and saw the bail come up, and when I looked at it the second time looked like Jonny might have knocked the bail before the ball had come,” he said. “Looked pretty close at that stage, if the ball had hit at the initial stage when the bail came then think I was well out of my ground.”

Smith admitted he was caught out by Ealham’s swift work. “I know now that he’s very quick,” he said. “The next one we hit out there when it was a similar push for two, I was like, gee, this guy’s tearing around the boundary, he’s coming at pace. Had I known that previously I might have just stayed there for the single.”

Had Smith been out it would have left Australia 194 for 8 and facing a considerable deficit, but he went on to make 71 before skying a whip across the line at Chris Woakes having added 54 with Pat Cummins. Todd Murphy then swiped three sixes off Mark Wood, adding a further 49 with Cummins, to gain a narrow lead.

“Did I pull the trigger too early? Maybe,” Smith said. “But had I not got out, Murph might not have come in and smacked 30 like he did. We are in the position we are because of our batters, you can’t fault what the bottom few did. Thought the partnerships they put together were outstanding.

“A lot of us got starts, the scorecards are very similar in a way, and we weren’t able to capatalise and [turn] one of those partnerships that were 40-50 into 100-150 and that gives us a decent lead. Bit disappointed from that aspect.”

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